A workout that is fast-paced, high-intensity and challenging has drawn a community to Kent. CrossFit combines interval training with Olympic weightlifting that is a mix between aerobic exercise to get your heart pumping and strength training to build muscle.

All Heart CrossFit opened 10 years ago after Lisa Shiu, All Hearts owner, wanted to help people get fit. She started out training in her garage with a friend by making up moves, watching videos and then combining everything into a workout. She spent a weekend at a CrossFit seminar to become a certified trainer.

“I wanted to help people and change their lives,” Shiu said. “Most people come in clueless with how to start working out and are intimidated by CrossFit, and I love seeing how much more confident they become during the workouts.”

CrossFit gyms keep you accountable and make sure you are reaching new goals. The key to the exercise is that you are being timed which inherently makes you unconsciously work harder to push yourself to new limits. Shiu keeps tabs on each person so that every week they are either increasing their speed or weight. CrossFit also gives people a sense of community. At All Hearts, they encourage each other to push boundaries.

“We all want each other to succeed,” Shiu said. “I make sure to modify each exercise to tailor that person's needs, whether that is performing reps in less time or adding 10 pounds each set. Everyone performs differently and I want to make sure each person gets the attention they need so that their form and stance is correct to see results.”

Fitness graph

CrossFit is a new way to exercise and brings together a community on campus. 

CrossFit comes with many health benefits. Stamina, strength, power and speed are just a handful of them. According to healthfitnessrevolution.com, your heart rate stays elevated throughout the whole workout which improves how your heart performs. This then increases overall endurance, hormones and neurological adaptations.

“What I like most about CrossFit, is that there is always a new skill to learn and a new challenge to overcome,” Shiu said. “The workout is different every time and you get to be a part of a community who is always striving for you to be better.”

Refueling your body is just as important as moving it too. Making sure you are replenishing electrolytes and food properly can make all the difference in performance in and out of the gym. Tanya Falcone, director of Kent State Wellness, said prioritizing recovery is one the best things you can do.

“After doing a high-intensity workout, such as CrossFit, you want to eat one gram of carb for every minute of activity,” Falcone said. “Also focusing on calcium, vitamin D and omega 3’s can help ease joint inflammation.”

Timing when you are eating is also another way to make sure your body is being replenished properly. According to heart.org, eating 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after a workout is optimal when doing CrossFit. Eating a balanced meal, one that combines fat, protein and carbs, gives your body enough fuel to power through a workout and keep it running in tiptop shape afterwards.

“Adequate eating when doing any type of exercise is crucial,” Falcone said. “Having something nutritious and filling every 4–5 hours will ensure that you are feeding your body with what it needs to be at peak performance.”

The support of other people keeping you accountable is another reason CrossFit is popular. Instructor Anthony Luchansky said it can be difficult to keep the motivation up at the gym and constantly challenging yourself so your muscles don’t get too comfortable.

“CrossFit keeps you on your toes; we support and educate each other to make sure we are pushing ourselves to be the best physical forms of ourself,” Luchansky said. “You see better results than just going to the gym as well because you learn and focus on perfecting form and continually learning new skills.”

Contact Sarah Arnold at sarnol22@kent.edu.

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